Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 15 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, Tacoma (SEA) 10
Round Rock: 6 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 14 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 8-5, 2.5 GB

SP Kyle Cody: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 65 P / 38 S, 5.79 ERA
DH JP Martinez: 2-4, SB (6), .400/.512/.657

So far, Kyle Cody’s mix is 35% fastballs, 35% sliders, 30% changeups. Back in the day, Cody’s likelihood of becoming an MLB starting pitcher was uncertain, but he had a credible backup plan as power reliever. His fastball still averages a respectable 92.7 in 2023, but the 2021 pace was nearly three tics higher. Cody had Tommy John surgery in early 2018 and missed most of 2021-2022 with shoulder trouble. He threw 126 innings in 2017 alone. Since then, a total of 78.

OF Nomar Mazara signed a minor league deal with Washington.

AA: Frisco 1, at San Antonio (SDG) 4
Frisco: 5 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Record: 4-4

SP TK Roby: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 78 P / 56 S, 6.52 ERA
RP Marc Church: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.70 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, 3B

Ms. Farm Report had dinner with a friend, so I entertained Farm Report Daughter instead of observing TK Roby’s start. A quick peek revealed a fastball in the 94-96 range.

Luisangel Acuna’s rapped a sharp, low liner to the left-center gap that appeared to be a double at best. Some tee-ball-level outfielding allowed Acuna to race home well ahead of the ball. Acuna was awarded a triple plus run-scoring error.

Hi-A: Hickory 2, at Wilmington (WAS) 3
Hickory: 5 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 3-3

SP Mitch Bratt: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 68 P / 45 S, 2.08 ERA
2B Jayce Easley: 2-5, 2 2B

Texas assigned former Phil and McNeese State alum Aidan Anderson to high-A. He entered with three Bratt runners aboard and one out in the 5th. One scored on a sac fly, and Anderson then worked a scoreless 6th.

The Rangers have Aidan Anderson, Aidan Curry, Adrian Rodriguez, and Andy Rodriguez on their A-level rosters. All are right-handed pitchers. I assume the Rangers signed Anderson to spite me.

Lo-A: Down East 0, at Augusta (ATL) 2
Down East: 4 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 5-2

SP Adrian Rodriguez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 8 P / 5 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Aidan Curry: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 2.35 ERA
RP Dylan McCarty: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA

Aidan Curry was listed as the starter but instead followed an inning from Adrian Rodriguez. Augusta’s very intermittent camera gun wasn’t functioning at all yesterday, but the announcer said Rodriguez’s fastball peaked at 99.5 in an earlier outing earlier. Down East couldn’t manage another late comeback.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Dugger
AA: Garcia
Hi-A: Rocker

Five Years Ago Yesterday
David Hurlbut and Tyler Wagner started Round Rock’s doubleheader at Colorado Springs. Making at least five starts for the ’18 Express were those two, Adrian Sampson, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Michael Roth, Yohander Mendez, Yovani Gallardo, David Ledbetter, Richelson Pena, Chris Rowley, and Chris Jensen. Six of the 11 would not pitch in affiliated ball beyond that season.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 14 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 7, Tacoma (SEA) 1
Round Rock: 12 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 8-4, 1.5 GB

SP Cody Bradford: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 87 P / 56 S, 0.55 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-4, HR (2)
3B Justin Foscue: 3-3, HR (1), BB, .250/.372/.417
LF Clint Frazier: 2-3, 2B, BB

A rough, rough outing for Cody Bradford. Three walks! A run! Maybe he was under the weather. Maybe this level of competition doesn’t engage him. In any case, his ERA rocketed to 0.55. He’ll work on bringing it down from the stratosphere next week.

Anyway, the Rangers aren’t in need of a starter from the AAA ranks, and nobody on the depth chart is closer than third in line behind Dune Dunning and Cole Ragans, I would think. Should need occur, I would pick Bradford over Cole Winn even though the former isn’t on the 40. I’m not convinced of how Bradford’s stuff would play against top-level competition, but at this moment I’d bet on him over Winn at getting through some innings without critical damage. Hopefully Winn makes such a decision more difficult down the road.

Zak Kent is also on the 40 but sidelined with a strained oblique suffered while warming for last Sunday’s start.

Justin Foscue drove a pitch just over 400 feet for his first homer. After that lengthy hitless stretch to begin the season, Foscue is suddenly sporting a respectable line.

AA: Frisco 7, at San Antonio (SDG) 0
Frisco: 16 hits, 8 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 4-3

SP Nick Krauth: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 59 P / 39 S, 3.00 ERA
RP Ricky DeVito: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
DH Evan Carter: 4-6
SS Luisangel Acuna: 3-5, BB
LF Dustin Harris: 2-4, BB
CF Chris Seise: 2-4, BB, SB (1)
C Scott Kapers: 3-5, 2B, HR (1)

25 baserunners, seven hits with runners in scoring position, but a relatively modest seven runs. Still, Frisco pummeled the Missions for a third straight, outscoring San Antonio 22-2 and drawing 26 walks. Carter, Acuna and Harris bat 1-2-3 in the order and were a combined 6-6 with three walks until Carter struck out with the bases loaded. Carter is hitting .414/.500/.655. He’s played 17 AA games and doesn’t turn 21 until late August, so don’t purchase Rangers tickets for June in expectation of his MLB debut.

Hi-A: Hickory 6, at Wilmington (WAS) 3
Hickory: 17 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 3-2

SP Josh Stephan: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 68 P / 45 S, 1.80 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 3.00 ERA
RP Eudrys Manon: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 3-5
DH Geisel Cepeda: 3-5
C Liam Hicks: 1-2, 2 BB, HBP
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 3-5, 2 SB (2)
2B Griffin Cheney: 2-4, BB

22 baserunners, eight hits with runners in scoring position, somehow only six runs. All the rain hasn’t hampered the hitters’ timing. The Crawdads are batting a robust .292/.368/.444.

Lo-A: Down East 5, at Augusta (ATL) 3 (7)
Down East: 7 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 0 walks, 11 strikeouts

SP Jose Corniell: 5 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 70 P / 49 S, 3.86 ERA
RP Dylan MacLean: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.25 ERA
SS Danyer Cueva: 2-4
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 2-3, 2B, 2 SB (2)
RF Jojo Blackmon: 1-2, 2B, BB, SB (1)

Lo-A: Down East 3, at Augusta (ATL) 1 (7)
Down East: 6 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Record: 5-1

SP Brock Porter: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 57 P / 31 S, 4.50 ERA
RP Matt Brosky: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, 4.50 ERA
CF Yeison Morrobel: 1-2, BB
RF Jeferson Espinal: 1-1, BB, HBP, SB (1)

Augusta led 3-1 in the 6th of the opener and 1-0 in the 7th of the nightcap and lost both. In the first game, doubles by Anthony Gutierrez and Jojo Blackmon erased a two-run deficit and created a two-run lead, respectively. In the second, singles by Yeison Morrobel, Ian Moeller, Miguel Villaroel, and Andres Mesa plus a Jeferson Espinal HBP resulted in three runs.

After not escaping the 1st in his pro debut, Brock Porter completed last night’s first inning on 17 pitches. A walk and HBP in the 3rd would lead to a run, but on the whole Porter recovered the control missing from last Friday. Augusta’s camera feed and graphics are not in midseason form, so I don’t have any velocities for Porter. I saw three of the strikeouts, which I believe included a change, slider, and fastball for third strikes.

2022 8th-rounder Matt Brosky fanned six and kept Augusta off the board late, which would prove crucial.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Cody
AA: Roby
Hi-A: Bratt

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 13 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, Tacoma (SEA) 1 (10)
Round Rock: 4 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 7-4, 1.5 GB

SP Bernardo Flores: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 SO, 52 P / 28 S, 6.75 ERA
RP John King: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.86 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 1-3, 2B, BB, .182/.308/.273

Dominic Leone couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead in the 9th but kept the gift runner from scoring in the 10th. In the bottom half, a Justin Foscue walk and Yoshi Tsutsugo single quickly ended the contest.

Texas optioned reliever Taylor Hearn yesterday without a corresponding call-up. John King and Yerry Rodriguez are on the 40 but pitched last night. Barring a 40-man addition, that would leave Joe Barlow and rehabbing Josh Sborz as the choices. Barlow’s top speed of 93.6 in AAA so far is lower than his 94.7 average of 2021-2022.

Nick Solak was claimed off waivers from Seattle by the White Sox. His fourth organization in five months.

AA: Frisco 8, at San Antonio (SDG) 1
Frisco: 7 hits, 10 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 3-3

SP Owen White: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 67 P / 43 S, 0.00 ERA
RP John Matthews: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RF Evan Carter: 2-5, 2B
1B Dustin Harris: 0-2, 3 BB
3B Thomas Saggese: 2-4, 3B, BB
DH Trevor Hauver: 1-3, 2 BB

Owen White held San Antonio hitless through 4.2. An honest single ended his night. White’s fastball sat at 94-95 with a few a tic or two lower. The slider ranged from 84 to 91, usually 87-88. Yes, he threw a 91 MPH slider; it’s the third pitch in my video. Appearing less frequently was the curve (77-82) along with a small handful of changes (87-90). He missed ten bats on the night: four fastballs, four sliders, two curves. White can adjust the velocity, break, and location of his slider and curve so hitters can’t key on the same spot. He didn’t throw as many changes as I would have liked (nobody does), but it appears to be a capable pitch.

Nobody’s going to write a sonnet about White’s performance. He didn’t dazzle, even with a good number of swinging strikes. He just showed up and did his job, briskly. In the 4th, facing two lefties, he tended to run pitches outside and walked one batter on five pitches, but I wouldn’t say he ever struggled. White had solid location of solid stuff. You can pitch a long time that way, health willing. Not to suggest there’s any hurry, but the gap between what he is and what he could become isn’t huge. He just needs to be out there every fifth or sixth day.

Evan Carter singled and doubled the opposite way. He was picked off after the single. Dustin Harris was 1-4 with four walks in the two games I saw, swell but not conducive to exciting video.

Hi-A: Hickory 4, at Wilmington (WAS) 5
Hickory: 7 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 2-2

SP Winston Santos: 4.1 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 3 R, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 2 SO, 71 P / 45 S, 2.61 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 1-3, HR (1), BB, SB (2)

So Winston Santos will not throw a near no-hitter in every start. Maximo Acosta hit only four homers last year but ought to surpass that in 2023 with the combination of filling out a little and more hitter-favorably parks.

Lo-A: rain

Two today. Hickory and Down East have played a combined eight of 14 scheduled games.
Today’s Starters
AAA: Bradford
AA: Krauth
Hi-A: Santos listed, pitched yesterday
Lo-A: TBD x 2, Porter should be one

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock’s game in Colorado Springs was postponed by cold. I wouldn’t be writing about the Sky Sox much longer. Like AAA Fresno, Colorado Springs had become undesired by the MLB clubs closest to it, creating havoc in the biennial affiliate shuffle. The team would move to San Antonio in 2019, replaced by a short-season team from Helena, MT. After 2020, the powers that be eliminated the short-season leagues. The rechristened Rocky Mountain Vibes compete in the now-independent Pioneer League.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 12 April

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 12 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 0, Tacoma (SEA) 6
Round Rock: 3 hits, 6 walks, 14 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 6-4, 1.5 GB

SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 77 P / 52 S, 6.75 ERA
RP Joe Barlow: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
2B Jonathan Ornelas: 0-2, 3 BB, SB (1)
3B Blaine Crim: 1-3, BB

Cole Winn produced his best outing of the season despite a rocky 5th. Winn cruised through the first four innings, surrendering a double and walk plus only one other three-ball count. The 5th contained six hard-hit balls including a double, single, and double around a walk.

Jonathan Ornelas (.167/.390/.200) has five hits and ten walks.

Blaine Crim has started three straight at third. We’re through the looking glass, folks.

AA: Frisco 7, at San Antonio (SDG) 1
Frisco: 9 hits, 8 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 7 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 2-3

SP Jack Leiter: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 7 SO, 90 P / 48 S, 5.19 ERA
RP Antoine Kelly: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Alex Speas: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Justin Slaten: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 2-3, 2 HR (2), 2 BB, SB (1)
2B Luisangel Acuna: 2-5, SB (2)

I saw Jack Leiter in person for the second time this year.

The good news: 12 swinging strikes, seven strikeouts (37% of the 19 batters) mostly completed with a slider. Several batters took late, awkward, flat-footed swings at sliders that veered outside. It’s a sharp pitch. Leiter fanned three batters in the 4th and tallied seven misses in a stretch of ten swings. Against a righty-heavy lineup, Leiter’s fastball was effective when up and running in. After a walk to start the game, Leiter was fairly efficient through the 3rd, reaching three balls to three more batters but always delivering a strike when required. Hard contact wasn’t an issue; San Antonio never hit anything that hinted at extra bases. His mound demeanor seemed fine.

The bad news: Leiter had a 53% strike rate, departing with 90 pitches through 4.1 innings. That three-K 4th began with two walks and consumed 30 pitches, only 15 for strikes. The opposition swung at only five of his 19 first pitches. Of the other 14 plate appearances, 11 began with balls. Of eight first-pitch fastballs taken, seven were balls. Leiter simply isn’t throwing enough strikes with the fastball, and batters can improve their chances by waiting on a likely 1-0 count. A fair number of plate appearances felt like a Leiter monologue with the batter off to the side of the stage. The curve, such a weapon at Vandy, was essentially just another look or an early-count strike-stealer. We’ve been waiting for some indication of changeup development, but at this point I’m putting that aside until the fastball comes around. The house needs a solid foundation.

I wiped his and Cole Winn’s slates clean after 2022. Rough years, to be sure, but some time off would hopefully serve everyone’s interests. So, in that respect, what I’ve seen in 2023 reminds me of what I’d like to forget. Still, all that said, he and the Rangers have time. There is, at least in my mind, zero expectation of a contribution at the Major League level in 2023. I would just like to see him finish the year in a better place, primarily with improved fastball control and command from which his entire repertoire can blossom.

I have video of his entire 4th inning (condensed to about three minutes). That’s more than I would usually upload, but I felt that inning encapsulated the best and worst of his night.

Evan Carter homered in consecutive at-bats. The first was lined to right center, not a sure thing until it cleared. Everyone in the park knew the second would exit the moment he connected. Carter saw 31 pitches in five trips to the plate. His plate composure is superb. I’ve seen previous criticism of him being passive at the plate, and perhaps that was the case, but I certainly didn’t get that impression yesterday. He’ll walk all day if pitchers oblige, but he’s not simply taking until forced to swing. Here’s my video of those plate appearances.

Antoine Kelly’s first inning reminded of why Texas traded for him: a 94-97 fastball matched with a mid-80s slider that could both nip the outer edge and bore into righties. The lefty Kelly stands on the right side of the rubber, but his pitches still seem to arrive from first base. His second inning reminded of why Texas didn’t place him on the 40: increasingly troublesome location concluding with three plate appearances of 11, seven, and seven pitches, all walks.

Alex Speas relieved Kelly with the bases loaded. This might be an example of a player pitching on schedule rather than situation, because the situation definitely called for someone with better than Speas’s historically scary control. Nevertheless, Speas induced a 1-1 popup to end the threat and then worked a clean 8th almost exclusively with low-90s sliders. Not bad for a guy coaching high-schoolers last summer.

Hi-A: Hickory 5, at Wilmington (WAS) 7
Hickory: 7 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 2-1

SP Gavin Collyer: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 69 P / 42 S, 2.70 ERA
C Cody Freeman: 2-4, HR (1)
DH Josh Hatcher: 1-3, 2B, BB
RF Angel Aponte: 1-4, HR (1)

The first three Blue Rocks would reach against Leury Tejada in the 5th, and all plus one more would score off Andy Rodriguez. The Cuban-born, 24-year-old Andy is a 2022-signed free agent out of Miami Dade Community College. The Rodriguez I recently mentioned in reference to praise from Baseball America is Adrian, currently at Down East. The Rangers deliberately sign similarly named players to make my like difficult. I’ve been dealing with this since 2007, when low-A Clinton had 23-year-old, college-drafted outfielders Craig Gentry and Grant Gerrard.

Brooklyn has already allowed 21 stolen bases versus just one caught. Hickory’s total of six (including four last night) ranks in the league’s lower half. Successful steals are up 61% over last year so far.

Lo-A: Down East 1, at Augusta (ATL) 0
Down East: 4 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 6 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 3-1

SP Josh Gessner: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 69 P / 40 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Leandro Lopez: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Adrian Rodriguez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 1-3, 2B, BB

20-year-old Leandro Lopez recorded seven of ten outs via strikeout using a 92-94 fastball and especially a 74-79 curve that runs tighter than the speed would suggest. Control is not Lopez’s specialty, but he can pour it in for called strikes as well as misses. Most Carolina League hitters are not equipped for this sort of pitch. Lopez spent 2021-2022 in the Dominican Summer League under the name Leandro Calderon. He fanned 59 and walked 16 in 32 innings last year.

Gleider Figuereo scored the game’s only run in the 7th. He reached by being hit, advance to second on an error, to third on a groundout, and home on a wild pitch.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Flores
AA: White

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down East defeated Myrtle Beach 16-14 in the home opener. The teams combined for 31 hits, 14, walks, two HBPs, and eight more reaching on errors.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Tuesday 11 April

Start with Hickory below, then come back to the top.

Okay. Per the Hickory Daily Record ($ link but might work anyway), the Hickory Crawdads will be sold from the Rangers to Diamond Baseball Holdings, a private equity group that has snatched up a bunch of teams since the 2020-2021 MiLB reorganization. Per GM Douglas Locasio, daily operations are not expected to change. The Rangers purchased Hickory in 2016, at the time a low-A team. Concurrently, they became owners of a new high-A team in Kinston christened Down East, which began play in 2017. The teams swapped classifications in 2021.

A critical factor in Texas buying these teams was to secure stability for its A-level rosters. While Texas had a strong relationship with Hickory that I expected would continue, the Rangers’ high-A situation had been a nuisance for  a dozen years, culminating in banishment to High Desert, on the short list of least desirable affiliations in pro ball. Prior to the creation of Down East, the Rangers had attempted to purchase high-A Wilmington (DE, not NC) and move it to Kinston, which failed because of the collapse of a related purchase/relocation of AA Binghampton by another party. Now that MLB has asserted its control over Minor League Baseball including elimination of the biennial affiliate reshuffle, clubs can sell with more assurance that they won’t face a High Desert-like situation down the road. Also, should MLB decide on additional minor league contraction, the Rangers wouldn’t be holding what would become a deeply diminished asset.

An eventual sale of Down East would not be unexpected.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 10, Tacoma (SEA) 2
Round Rock: 9 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 6-3

SP Robert Dugger: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 52 P / 31 S, 14.73 ERA
RP Lucas Jacobsen: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RF JP Martinez: 2-4, BB, SB (4)
3B Blaine Crim: 2-4, 2B

Rehabbing Leody Taveras clubbed a grand slam off Fred Villarreal, singled earnestly off Taylor Williams, and drew a bases-loaded walk off Justus Sheffield. None of these pitchers is MLB-caliber at present, but it’s still nice to see Taveras swinging a solid bat.

For the second time professionally, Blaine Crim has started consecutive games at third. Jonathan Ornelas received his first day off.

Reliever Hever Bueno is back. The righty had retired with several weeks remaining in the 2022 season, not the time of year players in their mid-twenties announce that sort of decision. I didn’t see him in Surprise but heard he was there. Last year, Bueno had a robust 28% strikeout rate in AAA with serious control issues. (Incidentally, if you’re wondering whether a minor leaguer can simply retire and sign elsewhere as a free agent, oh my heavens no. At least not before he reaches free agency via service time. Clubs can opt not to offer the returning player a new contract, which would then make him a free agent, but retiring in and of itself doesn’t sever the relationship between player and club. See below.)

AA: Frisco 0, at San Antonio (SDG) 4
Frisco: 3 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Record: 1-3

SP Ryan Garcia: 5 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 78 P / 44 S, 3.60 ERA
C David Garcia: 2-3

2019 2nd-rounder Ryan Garcia made his AA debut. Injuries and covid had limited him to just 17 appearances during 2019-2022.

Dustin Harris received a clock strike on a 3-2 count. He wasn’t happy and I don’t blame him. The opposing pitcher was behind the mound, twirling his hand for a clock reset that wasn’t granted. When the pitcher finally stepped on the rubber as the clock dwindled, Harris still had one foot outside the box, so the ump rung him up. (This is my interpretation from various MiLB.tv camera shots. There was no audio at the time.) Manager Carlos Cardoza argued Harris’s case and was ejected.

The Texas League is batting a collective .212/.306/.333 and scoring 4.2 runs per game, 1.3 fewer than last year. Frisco is hitting .189/.273/.268. None of these conditions will last.

Hi-A: Hickory 3, at Wilmington (WAS) 2
Hickory: 8 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 2-0

SP Kumar Rocker: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 53 P / 41 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Larson Kindreich: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Maximo Acosta: 2-4, 2B
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-4, HR (1), BB, SB (1)

Kumar Rocker pitched last year in indy ball and as a Ranger in the Arizona Fall League, but in a way, last night was his honest-to-goodness professional debut. He was more than up to the task, racing through five innings with an endless barrage of strikes. Rocker struck out two batters in each of the first four innings, then finished with a five-pitch 5th. The opposition whiffed at 12 pitches (23% of all pitches, 36% of swings) and took another eight for strikes. Only two balls escaped the infield, both lined singles.

So, about that opposition. Washington’s farm system is weak overall, but its high-A lineup features OF James Wood (a Soto acquisition and MLB.com’s #16 overall prospect), three others from major colleges, and several experienced internationals. It averaged 22.3 years of age and nearly three years of pro experience entering the season. These hitters aren’t on par with what Jack Leiter is facing, but Rocker definitely isn’t lording over a bunch of teenagers trying to graduate from the complex league.

Wilmington has a radio feed but no MiLB.tv coverage. Best as I can tell, Rocker threw the usual fastball/slider mix, and velocity was to expectations.

I’ve already seen fans pining for promotion to Frisco. All in due course. First, I’d like to see him build up to 90 pitches or whatever Texas intends to be his cap in 2022. Second, I’d like to see changeups. Changeups galore, and curves, too, if they’re intended to be in his repertoire. Rocker is virtually a two-pitch guy right now. Hickory is the place to build on that.

Texas’s official prospect Twitter account has video.

Lo-A: Down East 6, at Augusta (ATL) 5
Down East: 8 hits, 6 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 6 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 2-1

SP Luis Ramirez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 25 P / 17 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Joseph Montalvo: 3 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 3.00 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 1-5, HR (1)
RF Yeison Morrobel: 0-2, 2 BB, 2 SB (2)
C Ian Moller: 2-3, 2B, BB, SB (1)
2B Danyer Cueva: 2-3, 2B

7th-round righty Luis Ramirez made his pro debut. I watched a brief portion of his outing and saw effective sinking fastballs and changeups. The video gun read either 92 or a blank after each pitch, so I can’t vouch for velocity, but a 92 fastball sounds about right. Ramirez’s final season at Long Beach State was shortened by a shoulder injury, not that it would have made a difference professionally, because none of Texas’s drafted pitchers appeared last year by design.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Winn
AA: Leiter
Hi-A: Teodo

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock fell to 1-6 with a 19-1 loss at OKC. Opponents were hitting .345/.434/.530 against the Express, “so the opposition is nine Joey Vottos, every night.” Andy Ibanez started his third straight game for the Express at third. His performance at the position while in Frisco left much to be desired, but he would gradually improve such that he was respectable there and even adequate at short.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 9 April

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 6, at Sugar Land (HOU) 0
Round Rock: 6 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 0 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 5-3

SP Fernery Ozuna: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 2 SO, 29 P / 18 S, 3.86 ERA
RP John King: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.23 ERA
RP Jusitn Leone: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Yerry Rodriguez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 2-4
1B Yoshi Tsutsugo: 2-4, HR (1)

No-hit through seven, the Express erupted for six runs in the final two innings. Yoshi Tsutsugo homered in Justin Foscue to begin the 8th, and both would also single and score in the 9th. Sam Huff bopped a two-run double.

Blaine Crim made a rare start at third base. With the roster lacking a genuine non-1B reserve infielder (no offense, Blaine), that’s the only way one of Davis Wendzel, Jonathan Ornelas, and Foscue can have a day off. Ornelas and Foscue have played every game.

Zak Kent, listed as the starting pitcher up to and into the game, did not appear.

Rehabbing Josh Sborz fanned two in a perfect 3rd.

The league-wide BB/HBP rate is 15%, far above last year’s 11.8% and last April’s 11.5%. Comparing 2023 to last April, that’s an extra 1.4 free runners per team per game. The league might just have to shut down and restart from scratch. This won’t do.


The Yankees purchased the contract of OF Willie Calhoun on Saturday. They also placed reliever Demarcus Evans on the minor league 60-day IL. Don’t what what that’s about. Oakland signed reliever Spencer Patton.

Five Years Ago Yesterday
“Ronald Guzman [1-3, BB] has five hits, three walks and no strikeouts in three games (he missed Saturday and Sunday). Four of those hits went to the opposite field. And, of 29 pitches taken, only six were strikes. Nobody in Texas is seeing the ball better than Guzman right now. Since around last July, I’ve thought he could handle MLB pitching. Not dominate it, but handle it.”

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Saturday 8 April

From Huntsville, AL, maybe the weirdest box score you’ll ever see. Visiting Chattanooga was no-hit but won 7-5, scoring everything with two out in the final inning. Walk, walk, pop out, walk, strikeout, bases-loaded walk, three-run error, HBP, HBP, bases-loaded HBP, bases-loaded walk, run-scoring wild pitch, HBP, strikeout.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 4, at Sugar Land (HOU) 0
Round Rock: 5 hits, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 3-3

SP Cody Bradford: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 82 P / 57 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 3.86 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 1-2, 2 BB
2B Justin Foscue: 1-3, 2B
RF Elier Hernandez: 2-2, HR (1), BBCody Bradford no-hit Sugar Land through five. Bradford’s fastball again had a median velocity just under 90 MPH. He missed eight bats, six via changeup.
Justin Foscue has a hit. After a hard out, Foscue angled a pitch at a relatively modest 81 MPH for a double. He would double again in the nightcap. Foscue leads the team with ten hard-hit balls (>= 95 MPH) and has a minuscule 5% swinging strike rate. Elier Hernandez homered in both games.

AAA: Round Rock 3, at Sugar Land (HOU) 2
Round Rock: 7 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 4-3

SP Kyle Cody: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 60 P / 61 S, 6.35 ERA
C Sam Huff: 1-4, HR (1)
2B Justin Foscue: 1-2, 2B, BB, SB (1)
CF Elier Hernandez: 1-2, HR (2), BB

Kyle Cody, starting pitcher? 60 pitches are the most he’s thrown since September 2020. He offered a low-90s sinker, mid-80s change and a heavy dose of 78-83 sliders. Plenty of strikes including 11 swinging, but also a fair number of hard hits.

AA: Frisco 3, Amarillo (ARI) 5
Frisco: 8 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 4 walks, 14 strikeouts
Record: 1-2

SP TK Roby: 3.2 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 77 P / 45 S, 7.36 ERA
RP Marc Church: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
LF Evan Carter: 1-4, BB
DH Luisangel Acuna: 2-5, SB (1)
3B Thomas Saggese: 2-3, 2B, BB

TK Roby surrendered two homers in his AA debut. Long balls were a weak spot last year in high-A, as he allowed 19 and a .446 slugging percentage in 22 starts.

AA: rain

Makeups during the week of April 25-30 in Winton-Salem.

AA: rain

They’ll make it up in June.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Kent
AA: off
Hi-A: off
Lo-A: off

Five Years Ago Yesterday
In his high-A debut, Mike Matuella lasted five innings with two runs allowed and four strikeouts. The fastball sat in the mid 90s. Baseball America had dropped him from 19th to 30th among Texas prospects over the winter, but after a noteworthy spring, his status might have peaked around this time.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Friday 7 April

Box Scores

AAA: Wet

Thursday’s game will be made up today. Yesterday’s rainout will wait until July.

AA: Frisco 1, Amarillo (ARI) 3
Frisco: 3 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Record: 1-1

SP Owen White: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 48 P / 31 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Nick Krauth: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 6.75 ERA
RP John Matthews: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
LF Dustin Harris: 1-3, 3B, BB

Owen White was solid, if not dazzling, in a fastball-heavy performance. I believe he was slightly behind his compatriots in Surprise, so he lasted only three innings last night. Amarillo never seriously threatened him, although their ability to foul off multiple pitches extended White to 24 pitches for just four batters in the 3rd. The Poodles strung together a walk and three two-out hits off Nick Krauth for all the runs. Krauth is an undrafted signing out of Connecticut.

Dustin Harris lined a triple to right-center. Luisangel Acuna (1-4) was tagged out stretching for a triple in the 8th.

AA: Wet

In a pitiful act of defiance against Mother Nature, the league has scheduled a doubleheader today.

AA: Down East 10, Kannapolis (CHW) 1
Down East: 13 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 1-1

SP Aidan Curry: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 63 P / 37 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Jackson Kelley: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Dylan McCarty: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Adrian Rodriguez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
RF Yeison Morrobel: 1-3, 2 BB
C Tucker Mitchell: 4-4, 2B, HBP
2B Danyer Cueva: 3-5, 3B, SB (1)

20-year-old Aidan Curry would have been drafted if not for the covid-shortened five-round draft in 2020. He signed out of high school anyway and is in the low-A rotation after two seasons at the complex marked by improving control and a flashy 32% strikeout rate. Side-arming Jackson Kelley (2022, 12th round) had a stylish pro debut. Holding Kannapolis hitless over the final four innings were DJ McCarty (not the 2020 4th-rounder, that’s fellow Woodie Dylan MacLean) and Adrian Rodriguez, who was recently mentioned as a prospect “standing out to scouts” in a recent baseball America article ($ link) with his upper-90s heat and mid-80s breaker. Texas drafted him in 2019’s 39th round.

2021 14th-round catcher Tucker Mitchell had a day. Entering the season, Mitchell had flashed some power (five homers in 50 games) but not much contact in two pro seasons.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Bradford / Cody
AA: Roby
Hi-A: Rocker / Bratt

Five Years Ago Yesterday
Two games were rained out, and two were played in atypical cold. Eerie. Frisco’s Wes Benjamin fanned eight in four innings. He’s currently a fixture in the rotation of Korea’s KT Wiz. He spoke of the move to Korea in January.

Regarding yesterday’s post: The player acquired for catcher Brett Nicholas was reliever Emmanuel Clase. 18 months later, Texas would trade him and OF Delino DeShields Jr. to Cleveland for SP Corey Kluber, who would throw only one inning for the Rangers.

Clase was announced in early May, but I can’t find mention of him in my reports until the announcement of short-season Spokane’s roster in mid-June. My vague recollection is a slow buildup of “good grief, did you see who the Rangers got for Nicholas” chatter after he joined. Clase already had three years of pro experience and appeared statistically as a swing man with middling peripherals. That would change.

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Thursday 6 April

Per local reports, Jake Odorizzi will miss the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The man he was acquired for, LHP Kolby Allard, is on the 60-day Injured List with an oblique strain.

Rehabbing Leody Taveras was 0-4 as Frisco’s DH.

Box Scores

AAA: Round Rock 2, at Sugar Land (HOU) 5
Round Rock: 5 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 7 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 2-3

SP Jake Latz: 2 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 37 P / 23 S, 2.70 ERA
RP Cole Winn: 3.1 IP, 7 H (1 HR), 5 R, 5 BB, 4 SO, 7.71 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.75 ERA
LF JP Martinez: 2-3, HR (1), BB, SB (2)
DH Blaine Crim: 1-3, BB

This was the completion of Wednesday’s rain-shortened contest, after which the regularly scheduled game was postponed until Saturday.

Originally listed as the nightcap starter, Cole Winn instead belatedly relieved Jake Latz. Results were similar to last Friday’s start: a decent number of whiffs (10) undermined by a low overall strike rate. Curiously, the pitch that caught plenty of zone was the change. Sugar Land swung at eight, put six in play, and collected a single, two doubles, and a homer.

JP Martinez knocked Round Rock’s first homer. Now 27, Martinez’s star has dimmed over the years, and his AAA intro last year was a mixed bag (.199/.319/.404), but he’s Round Rock’s most potent hitter in the early going (.615/.688/1.077).

Justin Foscue is one of five AAA players without a hit in at least 15 plate appearances. His hard-hit rate is a respectable 46%, and he lasered a pitch directly to the waiting CF at 105 MPH.

Another of those five is Davis Wendzel (0-15, walk, HBP).

AA: Frisco 12, Amarillo (ARI) 4
Frisco: 10 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 1-0

SP Jack Leiter: 4.1 IP, 3 H (2 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 79 P / 44 S, 8.31 ERA
RP Grant Anderson: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Alex Speas: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Theo McDowell: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 2-5, SB (1)
LF Dustin Harris: 2-3, BB
1B Trevor Hauver: 1-4, HR (1)
RF Kellen Strahm: 2-3, BB
C Scott Kapers: 2-3, 3B

Jack Leiter allowed only three hits, but two landed in the grass. He issued a walk in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings. The fastball velocity was fine, mid-to-upper 90s, and despite the walks he might have been slightly better about catching glove-side corners. His slider has improved since joining the organization but seemingly at the expense of his curve, which rarely displays the mean-spiritedness of his Vandy days. He missed eight bats.

20-year-old Jordan Lawlar, chosen four spots after Leiter in the 2021 draft, reached on a walk and two-run homer against Leiter.

Evan Carter had an opposite-field triple reduced to a single and out because he skipped over second base.

Trevor Hauver hit a grand slam. He began to see action at first late last year. Given what he brings to the outfield defensively, a partial or total switch doesn’t add much pressure to his bat. He’ll need to hit his way to the Majors regardless.

AA: Hickory 10, Salem (CHW) 5
Hickory: 13 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 7 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 1-0

SP Winston Santos: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 77 P / 53 S, 0.00 ERA
RF Alejandro Osuna: 2-4, BB, SB (1)
C Cody Freeman: 1-2, 3B, 2 BB, HBP
1B Josh Hatcher: 2-5, 2B
CF Daniel Mateo: 3-5, 3B
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 3-4, 2 2B

Winston Santos commenced 2023 with his best professional start, retiring his first 14 batters and another five straight after a lone single. 20 years old for a a few more days, Santos features a mid-90s fastball, decent change, and a slider that appears to play more on deception than raw quality at present. He can throw strikes all day (67% rate in 2022), setting him apart from most at the lower levels, although his BB/HBP rate last year ended up a good, not great, 9.3%.

A video posted this morning by Rangers Player Development contains his eight swinging strikes, all heat except a final slider. Do take a look. Per Texas’s official player development Twitter account, Santos’s fastball averaged 95.4.

The Crawdads scored seven in the 2nd to dispense of 26-year-old Kannapolis starter Dylan Burns. Every starter reached safely.

AA: Down East 4, Kannapolis (CHW) 5
Down East: 6 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 9 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 0-1

SP Brock Porter: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 1 SO, 32 P / 12 S, 13.50 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 2-4
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, 2B

In his professional debut, 19-year-old Brock Porter couldn’t get out of his own way, accumulating 32 pitches in a four-walk 1st that ended his night early. Three of the four walks began with a strike, and two contained 0-2 counts. Porter threw 12 two-strike pitches that resulted in 11 balls and a swinging strike three. Just one more strike in that group gets him to the dugout to gather himself, and perhaps he’s able to last another two innings or so.

Seth Clark, an undrafted free agent out of Georgia State, prevented further damage in the 1st and worked a clean 2nd. Later, Kannapolis would plate three in three innings against 2022 8th-rounder Matt Brosky, also pitching in a real game for the first time. The 23-year-old Brosky pitched for Youngstown State and was among Texas’s less expensive signings.

Anthony Gutierrez singled twice in his full-season debut. He’ll be 18 the entire season. Gleider Figuereo, another name of note and five months older than Gutierrez, doubled and singled.

Today’s Starters
AAA: Bradford
AA: White
Hi-A: Rocker

Five Years Ago Yesterday
I’m going to maintain this feature, I think, but recapping 2018 won’t always be pleasurable. The farm was 25 games under .500 in April and dominated by names that largely didn’t work out and don’t resonate much today. Here’s who’s still in the organization from the full-season break-camp rosters: Joe Barlow, Jonathan Hernandez, Brett Martin, Leody Taveras, Sam Huff, Ryan Dorow, Matt Whatley, and Alex Speas. Some of the parent club’s losing seasons in the past six years contained entertaining (if ultimately deceptive) bouts of competitiveness, but 2018’s 67-95 club was limited to a .500 record across May and June.

Nevertheless, today’s account has an interesting item: Texas traded catcher Brett Nicholas to San Diego for a player to be named or cash. Nicholas had spent the winter as Texas’s nominal backup catcher but lost that role in Spring Training and was outrighted.

The player to be named became quite the name. Remember who?

Rangers Farm Report: Games of Wednesday 5 April

No game report from yesterday, as Round Rock was suspended by rain. That contest will resume today followed by a regularly scheduled affair shortened to seven innings.

After a week of only Triple A games, the minor league season begins in full today. I maintain a collection of spreadsheets here: 40-man roster, rosters for al minor league levels, players removed from the org, Rule 5 eligibility (which I’ll need to update), and more. I have added a list of top-10 prospects for other teams that could play against Texas’s minor league clubs in 2023. I update the lists frequently but not instantaneously.

I also provide updates on Twitter. If you’re not on Twitter by now, you’re probably committed to that, and the current owner is certainly doing all he can to degrade the experience. But if you’d like my additional observations during the games, I’m there for you.

Today’s Expected Starters:
AAA Cole Winn
AA Jack Leiter
Hi-A Winston Santos
Lo-A Brock Porter

That’s a strong quartet. Santos’s only appearance in a top-30 list I’ve seen is at #24 by Jamey Newberg at The Athletic, but from what I heard about Santos in Surprise, Jamey will have some company down the road. Baseball America awarded Santos as having the organization’s best fastball.

Owen White (AA) and Kumar Rocker (Hi-A) will start Friday.

MLB.com’s list of most talented minor league rosters is headed by AA Frisco.

Reliever Joe Barlow is active in Round Rock. Reliever Grant Anderson was transferred to AA after one appearance in Round Rock. That seems a move dictated by roster limits rather than any reflection on Anderson.

REV Entertainment is investigating the possibility of a multi-purpose entertainment venue including a baseball stadium in suburban Wilmington, NC. You might have heard of REV, as they operate Globe Life Stadium and the surrounding venues, and most of REV’s upper management also serve positions of similar importance in the Rangers organization. Texas owns the low-A Wood Ducks (and high-A Hickory). The agreement with the Kinston at Grainger Stadium runs through 2028, while the Player Development Agreement expires after 2030. REV’s involvement in a baseball-oriented entertainment complex doesn’t categorically have to involve the Rangers’ baseball operations. REV is also moving forward on a facility in Shreveport that could open in 2026, and the baseball tenant has yet to be announced. All affiliated minor league clubs have agreements with their respective MLB clubs through 2030.

At the forefront of my mind is whether A-level baseball will exist after 2030, at least in its present form as a nationwide commercial enterprise as opposed to, say, being folded into the Spring Training complexes.

We will have a new Diamond Pod for you later this afternoon. Links in the signature below.